I've just spent 3-days with Duncan French working with a group of coaches on our 3-day mentorship. One area that we spend a lot of time on was 'movement', particularly multidimensional speed and agility.
I was watching Duncan take the coaches through a range of acceleration and deceleration drills, gradually building to a simple change of direction. At each point he asked the coaches to look at the hips…you see, the hips tell us which direction the next most efficient movement needs to take place in.
If your hips are square on when you decelerate you're next movement is going to be forwards or backwards. If you stop and open your stance diagonally, you've got other options available to you, forward/backward on the diagonal…
Whilst I was listening to Duncan, Shakira entered my mind (it's better than Duncan being in my head!) and the line from her song "the hips don't lie"
Now I'm really over simplifying things here but when you are looking at movement and change of direction, take a look at the hips – they'll tell you where the next movement should take you.
What did you read?
1. Opportunity is no where?
2. Opportunity is now here?
This is a really simple illustration that most of us are conditioned to be 'negative'.
I read this in one of several books I have by Damian Hughes – The Liquid Thinking Survival Guide To Change. Check it out, a great read for any S&C coach that wants to influence change and behaviour in athletes, coaches, parents etc. I'm working through a number of the exercises with one of my young tennis players who is facing a lot of change over the next 2-3 years.
What Damian goes on to explain is that research shows we are programmed to focus on failure and disappointment far more than success and achievement. He illustrates throughout his book how the mind can actually impact on our own moods and feelings. So what has this got to do with S&C. Two things:
1. Career – I hear a lot of aspiring coaches telling me that OPPORTUNITY IS NO WHERE – I can't get a job, I can't gain experience, I can't get an internship….I can't… I can't…. I can't. There are just no opportunities. Blimey, just writing that made me feel negative! I'm sorry, I'm not having it! There are opportunities everywhere, you just choose to view it with negative eyes. If you want to make it as an S&C coach you need to start seeing that OPPORTUNITY IS NOW HERE!
2. Performance – anyone working in sport will know that it can be a bumpy ride and the road to success can be tough at times. It is very easy to focus on the negatives. Now anyone that knows me will know that I don't go round blowing smoke up my athletes arses or hug them at the end of every session. I like a bit of positive feedback as much as the next coach but sometimes a reality check is needed. However, it's important as a coach to recognise when our athletes are falling into what Damian calls the 'pessimism cycle'. When faced with challenges it's all too easy to 'sledge' ourselves. What we need to do is remind our athletes of previous positive successes. All top level athletes have fear and negative thoughts, it's just that the really good ones are able to ditch the bits that don't help and hold onto the positive thoughts that do.
Life is not an endless cycle of positivity but the key to your success as a coach and the success of your athletes is how you chose to view the situation. View it through negative eyes and you will miss the opportunity that is right in front of you.
Let me know what you think…
(Don't be one of these guys….)
Right, here's the deal – anyone that has picked up a copy of You're Hired by the end of today Friday 22nd February can grab the opportunity to join in a FREE You're Hired Masterclass.
I'll be contacting everyone next week about the specific arrangements but put the 14th March in your schedule. I'll be looking to kick off at 18:00 and will spend an hour answering any questions you've got about breaking into the profession. Here's what I cover in the video and I'll happily take questions on the night on any of these areas:
- Effective Mindset for Getting a Job: How to approach things mentally
- Standing out from the Crowd: How do you differentiate yourself from the 10,000 sports science students and personal trainers out there looking to break into strength and conditioning
- The best educational route for YOU! How to decide which pathway you need to take to get what you want long term
- How to create opportunities for yourself, don’t just wait for the job boards to call your name
- How to get the job that wasn’t even advertised! (80% of jobs aren’t!)
- HOW TO GET EXPERIENCE!! And which areas are preventing you from getting it and why
- Networking: Who to spend time with and a FULL METHOD for developing long lasting powerful relationships that bear fruits at the end
- Finding a mentor, someone who you can work with to develop yourself and your career over the years
- Becoming a brialliant strength and conditioning coach: How to be remarkable at this profession. Another systematic approach is outlined. (This alone is worth more than this video alone!)
- Getting your foot in the door: The all important CV
- Doing your research around the role: the key things you need to be doing to put yourself ahead of the competition
- Internships: What to expect, what to demand, and how to get a good one
- Your personal development plan: Profile yourself and use it do develop in the right areas over time. This alone makes you stand well above the people around you
- Goal setting for success: I'm not talking about athletes here, I'm talking about YOU
Here's a link to the video – grab it today and then get yourself ready for the masterclass in the 14th March!
In a recent podcast I spoke about the importance of developing a coaching philosophy based on fundamental elements that pretty much sum up your 'style'. One of my key components is 'movements not muscles' – I like to use exercises that involve the whole body.
Last week I was delivering a workshop to physio's on programme design and I wanted to explain why this was so important. All too often rehab exercises focus on 'isolation' exercises (fine during early stages but at some point you need to challenge the system). Fortunately my friend and colleague had some science to help back my argument. I used this slide to show the delegates that whole body exercises stimulate the release of testosterone and growth hormone, both of which are pretty important for training and rehab.
One reason I like to use whole body movements during rehab and conditioning is because is fires up the hormonal system like nothing else.
So there you have it – if you need to slap down some muscle mass (either for the beach, performance or to repair an atrophied muscle following injury) – move that body!
Let me know what you think?
Even if you are at the top of your game – you still need to dip for the line…
This is a very different topic. Not many strength and conditioning coaches talk about about how to break into the profession.
Typically you’ll attend all sorts of workshops to develop your technical skills, to learn how to go and lift or to do a particular type of strength conditioning. I think I increasingly, judging by the number of emails and enquiries that I’m getting that we’ve got a lot of people graduating now, or wanting to be strength and conditioning coaches that can’t break into the profession, or are becoming frustrated with how quickly they’re progressing through.
YOU'RE BEING SOLD SHORT
YOU'VE NOT BEEN SHOWN HOW TO DIP FOR THE LINE…
The idea for YOU'RE HIRED has been knocking around now for about two years. I remember, December 2010, sitting there and having this brainwave because I had just received another raft of emails that week from coaches asking the same question."How do I make it as an S&C coach?" So I’m sat there in my office sending out the same email response and I think…
You know what? I just needed to get this all sorted out put into one place.
So I sat there and wrote it all down and then did nothing with it for a year, which is a great start!
So then I sat there, December 2011, looking back at the things I said I was going to do and what I hadn’t and this popped up again. Right, I’ll get this nailed this year. Then I was chatting to Brendan Chaplin about workshops and I said, “Look, let’s try something a little bit different.” And that's what we did! I developed YOU'RE HIRED and in November 2012 we ran the first YOU'RE HIRED workshop in Leeds.
I think there is a genuine need for it YOU'RE HIRED but I think it’s going to take a little while for people to actually realise that they need to be working on this aspect of their development. But the fact that you’re sat here reading this means you’re already one step ahead of the competition…you understand that you need to DIP FOR THE LINE.
YOU'RE HIRED gives you an inside guide as to how to get into the profession.
If you are serious about becoming a strength and conditioning coach you will want to watch the YOU'RE HIRED workshop.The video launches today for just £43.00 and will be available for just 5 days at this price. After Friday it will be priced at £57.00.
We are back and we have set the date for the 2013 Performance Training Mentorship.
April 19th-21st 2013
This is going to be the only mentorship programme that we will run in 2013 (Duncan is flat out in his new role as head of S&C at the EIS down in Manchester and I'll be AWOL between May-August working on a variety of projects).
Apply now and join a select group of professionals in Newcastle at the 2013 PTMP. We will focus on educating you in foundational principles and methodology as applied to coaching, physical education and rehabilitation. This programme is not for the faint of heart or those without the commitment to excel, it is intense, intellectually challenging and demanding.
We combine both into a blend of theory and practice in a 3-day programme. This is an opportunity to observe, participate, question, and explore the application of training methods that we adopt in our approach to total athlete management.
The 3-day PTMP is just the beginning. After successful completion of the PTMP you will also have the opportunity to work with us as part of our specialisation series:
Specialisation Series Options include:
Evaluation and Monitoring
Strength and Power
Speed and Agility
Recovery and Regeneration
We can’t accept applications for the Spring programme after the 15th March 2013 and the next programme won’t run until 2014, so check out what we are going to cover in April and get yourself up to Newcastle for 3-days of hands on learning, backed up with solid theories and principles.You may even get time to have a night "oot on the toon!"
We are only accepting a maximum of 8 coaches onto this years programme
If you are thinking about booking on then follow this link for full details of the programme. If you have any questions you can fire them over to me on this e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm not going to do some long sales page – not my style. Bottom line is that if you want to learn directly from two coaches that are out there delivering on a day to day basis rather than a here today gone tomorrow internet guru you'll sign up! Simple.
I’m working my way through the latest addition to my book collection, Strength and Conditioning: Biological Principles and Practical Applications in preparation for a workshop I'm delivering in February (Performance Conditioning – 16th February, Leeds). It’s a real heavyweight book and well worth adding to your library. It does a fantastic job of working through the fundamental principles that underpin the physical preparation of athletes, something that is often overlooked in modern conditioning circles.
My highlighter pen has been working overtime and here are a couple of salient points that I’ve taken from the book so far:
“…in order to optimise athletic performance, athletes must be optimally trained…”
“…understanding how to apply the correct modality of exercise, the correct volume and intensity and the correct timing of various interventions is in fact the ‘holy grail’ of strength and conditioning…”
Obvious stuff right?
So how come so many coaches manage to get sidetracked from the fundamentals?
To become a great coach you need to drill the basics and whenever I work with aspiring S&C coaches there are three things that come very high up on my list of ‘to do’s’…
#1 Take a lesson from Goldilocks
Training variables and tools may change but your training principles should remain constant. Understand the fundamental training principles that are central to the development of high performance training programmes. Once you understand the fundamentals you can learn from Goldilocks and learn to apply them in ‘just the right’ way to optimise performance.
#2 Don't climb the Penrose Steps
Making athletes tired is easy – any trainer can do that. Make sure your session isn’t simply an exercise in futility. To be a great coach you need to nail your programme design skills and develop programmes that actually deliver a training outcome. Understand how to manipulate short and long term training variables to bring about the performance enhancement that you are looking for.
#3 Embrace the art and science of coaching
Many graduates are coming out with all of the book smarts but none of the street smarts. Coaching is educating and there is a real art and science to effective coaching. Have you ever thought about your coaching style? Do you understand decision training strategies or how to use language more effectively to establish triggers and coaching cues that will elevate your athletes performances during training. It’s not what you know that is important, it’s making sure your message gets through.
I’m constantly striving to improve my skill set and reading through Strength and Conditioning: Biological Principles and Practical Applications has prompted me to make some last minute changes to my Integrated Performance Training workshop in February. I’ve had this workshop nailed for the past couple of years but it’s time to update it for 2013!!! I had best stop writing this blog post and crack on with updating the workshop! If you are coming to Leeds on the 16th February for Day 1 of the IPC Workshop Series, don’t panic….I’ll have it finished and you’ll be the first to see the new improved version!
I was recently asked what trends from S&C for 2013 would filter through to the big box gyms. If you actually Google fitness trends you discover pretty quickly that everything old is new again! What you also discover is that there are some training concepts that just don't make sense! Fusion training – really?
So what do I think can be taken from the world of High Performance S&C that will impact on what takes place out there for the masses…
Here's what I came up with.
I've coached a lot of female athletes during my career and I'm convinced that this is the way forward for females training to get fit and stay in shape. It's interesting that Jessica Ennis topped a recent survey of 'aspirational physiques for women' – trust me, she's not doing endless cardio classes and lifting 0.5 kg dumbells for tricep kickbacks!
The application of performance monitoring has really taken off in high performance sport and we are now starting to see this technology filter through into the mainstream. If your clients/athletes use this type of technology then you as a coach should embrace it and use the data to enhance the support that you are providing.
Let me know what you think – did I miss something?
Last week I was asked to review a new training DVD. I get asked to do this on a regular basis and to be honest there are very few products that make it past my filter. I sat down today to watch this DVD expecting it to be average at best. I was wrong! Complete Olympic Lifting does a great job at running through the fundamentals of the Olympic lifts and is well worth checking out. For the Brits reading this – don't switch the DVD off during the introduction – they're American – they're not as reserved as us guys – stick with it, there are some great coaching points to pick up.
If you are reading this and wondering why you need to learn more about Olympic lifting then read on…
The Olympic Lifts are a staple of any modern strength training program. And, no doubt, you're well aware of the many ways these movements directly improve competitive performance.
The problem isn't deciding whether or not to incorporate these lifts into your program. It's getting your athletes to properly execute them.
How many times have you stood in the weight room watching your athletes attempt to perform a clean or a snatch, from the floor or hang position, and been overwhelmed by the number of mistakes they're making?
No triple extension. Looping bar path. Pulling with the arms. Catching with the elbows pointed down. Reverse curling the bar instead of keeping the 'elbows away from the bar' during the pull. Finishing in a wider stance than they started.
If you know what it should look like, but your current set of cues and progressions isn't quite getting them in the right position, then you've got to check out this new DVD from Wil Fleming called Complete Olympic Lifting:
It takes you through the process of assessing, teaching and fixing the Olympic Lifts (and their variations) in a simple, straight forward way you can begin implementing immediately.
No technical jargon. No fluff. No scientific text.
The All New Complete Olympic Lifting get right to the point:
Progressions and regressions guaranteed to clean up all of the technical issues preventing your athletes from getting the full results of these important lifts.
I've seen a lot of programmes. This is the one you will go back to time and time again when you want to teach (or reteach) the Olympic Lifts to your athletes.